Agriculture Minister Addresses Leader of the Opposition’s Unauthorised Visit to BAMSI

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WITH THE GATES LOCKED AND THE SCHOOL CLOSED – OPPOSITION MEMBERS AND WUTLESS MEDIA SHOWED UP AT BAMSI OPERATIONS LIKE ILLEGALS!

Opposition Members gathering around to pick the fruits off the BAMSI Tree!
Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Development the Hon. V. Alfred Gray addresses the issue of attempts by the Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis to get onto the grounds of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) in North Andros without proper authorisation, during a press conference at his office, Monday, March 2, 2015.

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Development the Hon. V. Alfred Gray addressed the issue of recent attempts of the Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis to get onto the grounds of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute ( BAMSI ) in North Andros without proper authorisation. Ministe

r Gray addressed it during a press conference at his office, Monday, March 2, 2015.

Minister Gray explained that the Leader of the Opposition and some of his supporters visited BAMSI unannounced on Sunday, March 1, and tried to gain unauthorised access to the facility despite the position of the security that was on duty at the time. The Leader of the Opposition also invited the press who had no knowledge that they did not have proper authorisation.

“I am not sure why the Leader of the Opposition and his followers felt that they could break the rules as it were for entry into the facility, and expect that would go unchallenged,” the Minister said.

“The truth is if we did not have security at the facility, I would have expected him to take umbrage to such a careless approach to securing the facility. That we had security and he sought to override the security’s presence and/or position with respect to his entering the facility without any authorisation is unbelievable.

“I think it is important for me to set the record straight once and for all. The School is open always to the public who seek proper authorisation to enter, but because he is a politician and because he is the Leader of the Opposition, the rule does not change for him and the rule does not change for me.”

Minister Gray said that he would be making a formal statement in the House of Assembly and he hoped that Dr. Minnis would give an explanation as to why he breached protocol.

“I would be the first to defend his right to see it (BAMSI), but there are rules in place. There is a security company that we are paying handsomely to secure the facility and if he thinks that he or anybody who supports him could just go there without any kind of authorisation, then he is mistaken. We are not going to allow that to happen and I think he owes this country an apology.”

Also at the press conference were: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Rene Glinton; President of BAMSI, Dr. Godfrey Eneas; Project Director and Consultant for the Tutorial Commercial Farm at BAMSI, Dr. Omar Thomas and General Manager, the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, Benjamin Rahming.

Dr. Eneas said the issue of bio-security is taken very seriously at the Institute, especially at the Tutorial Commercial and Marine Farms. “To some Bahamians that means nothing, but to us, who are engaged in food production and who are concerned about food safety, bio-security is a major concern and from that aspect alone, there must be a controlled environment in order that pests and diseases may not be transferred.”

Dr. Eneas said, “We have commodities in our bananas, papayas, pineapples, peanuts, coconuts and livestock that have to be protected and you just cannot allow any Tom, Dick and Harry to visit the farm.

“We have been lax in this country in bio-safety measures but we will not be lax at the Institute, and through my office we have given strict instructions to our security people that no unauthorised people are to be allowed on the facility,” BAMSI’s president said.